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Monday, February 21, 2011

Handling Class with Class

William and Kate shun traditional wedding list...Image by humberpike via Flickr

 Unless you belong to some lost tribe of indigenous people, by now you should have heard about the marriage between Kate Middleton and Prince William. The announcement rocked many different levels and parts of society all the way from the fashion world to Britain's class system. What has struck me most about all of this is the couple's ability to handle the subject of social class with class. 

 Many of you out there look to my blogs for a great example in a relationship. But it is good for you to know that I have my role models as well. William and Kate's relationship provided the perfect resource for me very recently when I had to handle another very delicate topic with my friend Marisa, the theme of social class. In addition to dealing with different languages and cultures in our relationship, I had to break it to her that we are also from different social classes.

Upon this new revelation about me, she stepped up to the plate and showed me that she was ready to grow and do whatever she needed to do to make it work between us.  One of my methods for helping her deal was to sit down and write an email to her specifically on this theme and lay out several things. The first thing I let her know was that just because I use terms like "upper class" or "middle class" does not mean that I think that I think I am better than others.  But essentially we are from different cultures and at times this type of vocabulary will come into play in the next part of our relationship.

I remember when I decided to take a path that was different than what was the norm for a girl born into an upper class family. I wanted to get a job like everyone else and see if I could make my own success instead of asking someone to make a phone call and get into some cushy position in a company due to nepotism.  Hanging out with people from a different social class taught me so much and even though my choices were hard on me financially, the lessons I learned made me rich in experience. And I would have never met Marisa if I had taken the easiest path. Nor would this blogsite be in existence if I had followed the well worn path of what people typically do in my social class.

In the same way that hanging out with another class enriched my life, I know that there are things from my life and background in a different social class that can enrich Marisa's life. During the first year of our friendship, I was looking for things in her character that told me that she was someone who was willing to grow. It is normal and natural for us to copy the actions of the class we were born into. Hanging out in a different social class gave me the chance to see a different value system and I was able to decide what I wanted to keep from my background and what I wanted to lose.

Nobody can help what they were born into but the thing we can all change is our patterns and habits when we are introduced to another way of doing things. Every experience I've had with Marisa has told me that she is the kind of person who will shed old patterns in an instant for the sake of growth.  In order to keep a cross-cultural relationship together,  both of us had to grow and adjust to different ways of doing this. She showed such a passion of level and flair for wanting to learn new things that I knew that upon being introduced to the idea of different social classes is only going to fuel her passion and desire to grow. Marisa will see it as an opportunity to learn about another culture as opposed to feeling insecure about me coming from a background where I had alot and she had little.

During this past year, our relationship has been tested but there have been times where I specifically did things to test her reaction. I was checking for signs of insecurity or jealousy because I knew that if I saw signs, there was no way our friendship could progress.  I have travelled the world and I can honestly say after one year that there is one one like her.  Truth be told, Marisa is one who has had little financially but has alot to offer me as a person.

Here in Argentina, I'm not spoiled for choice when it comes to english programming. I have to accept what gets given to me even if it isn't something I would normally pick. One of the shows that I got into was Paris Hilton's BFF, the second season. I used to thing Paris Hilton was a dumb blond but watching the show made me realize that she is actually very sharp and knows exactly what she wants. During the show, after an extensive process she gets down to the last 3 contestants. Two girls and then a gay mormon name Stephen Hampton.

Stephen gets eliminated in episode 9 because Paris feels that maybe she can't have a boy as a BFF. Then at the final episode when the two final contestants are standing before her and Paris has to make the final decision, it is in that moment that she realizes that Stephen is the one and instead of naming one of the two final contestants as her BFF, she calls out Stephen.  And the two of them lived happily ever after as BFF's.

This past year with Marisa scarily enough resembles that of a reality show. She had absolutely no idea that I was actually observing her closely and specifically testing her for signs of character. But the woman blew me away even the highest of my expectations without knowing until finally I had to tell her the twist in the plot.  That in reality I'm an upper-class girl looking for a true friend in the world....

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